A Guide to Industrial Disease Claims

Posted on: 1 min read
Deborah Krelle

Partner, Head of Industrial Disease

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You may be able to claim industrial disease compensation if you’ve developed an illness or disease as a result of your working conditions.

Your employer is legally obliged to protect your health and safety in the workplace, so if you’ve been exposed to a harmful substance or suffered harm because of a working practice in that company, you could be entitled to receive compensation and rehabilitation support.

Even if you no longer work at the company in question, or the employer is no longer trading, our Industrial Disease Solicitors could still help you get the compensation you deserve.

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FAQs about Industrial Disease Claims

Get in touch with our Industrial Disease Solicitors for a free consultation so we can assess the details of your case and whether or not your claim is likely to succeed.

If we take on your case we’ll carry out an investigation, which may involve bringing in an independent medical specialist to assess your condition and its likely cause. The medical expert will then finalise their conclusions in a written report.

This report could be crucial in both valuing your compensation settlement and identifying what type of care and rehabilitation support you may need. Once we’ve established what help you require we can help you access that support.

At the same time, we’ll gather details on your working history and working environment, past and present, so we can identify the dangers you were exposed to and we can then look to establish whether they definitely caused or contributed towards your illness.

This can be particularly complex if we’re investigating something that happened many years ago. After all, it can take years or even decades for symptoms of many industrial diseases, such as asbestos related illnesses, to become apparent.

That means we’re putting together a picture based on events that happened a long time ago and the company you worked for may no longer exist. But that doesn’t have to be an obstacle to you getting justice. Our Industrial Disease Solicitors maintain a database of companies and have access to details of insurers to help with our investigations, so we may still be able to make a claim for you.

Every industrial disease compensation settlement is different and reflects the individual circumstances of the case. The size of a compensation settlement will reflect:

      • The severity of your illness
      • How much support and rehabilitation you require
      • Current and future loss of earnings
      • Pain and suffering
      • Medical and travel expenses you’ve had to pay
      • The cost of any home modifications and mobility aids, if applicable

It may be the case that your industrial disease claim could take some time to conclude, and in the meantime, you still need to pay off debts, cover your daily living costs, or even pay for mobility aids, home adaptations or new accommodation.

In that case, we may be able to secure interim payments before the final settlement is decided, to help with your day-to-day life, sooner rather than later. However, this will only be possible if the company or their insurer has admitted liability and we can prove there is a reasonable need for money to be paid out before the case is settled.

No, as an employer could fall foul of unfair dismissal laws if they terminate your employment for claiming compensation. Our Solicitors can advise you on your rights when it comes to claiming compensation.

You must make a claim within 3 years of the date you were diagnosed with an industrial disease or within 3 years of you becoming aware that you have a work related injury, or ought to have known of it. As mentioned earlier, symptoms of an industrial disease can take many years to become apparent. That’s why the time limit starts from the time you became aware of the symptoms rather than from the date you were exposed to the cause of your illness.

Not necessarily. It depends on whether the company you’re claiming against accepts liability (fault) or not. If they don’t admit responsibility, the only way to conclude the claim will be in Court. However, this only happens in the minority of cases, as companies and their insurers usually prefer to settle out of Court.

Employers must have adequate health and safety processes in place to prevent members of staff coming to harm. That means it’s their job to limit your exposure to potential hazards, such as asbestos, harmful chemicals or loud noises, and put working processes in place that minimise the chance of physical injury.

So if you’ve been diagnosed with a disease and it’s been caused by your working conditions you may be entitled to compensation.

What is an Industrial Disease?

An industrial disease is any illness that’s been caused or made worse by your work. If your employer failed to carry out adequate risk assessments, make you aware of potential hazards and take steps to keep you safe from possible risks, you may be entitled to compensation.

The most common industrial illnesses are those that cause breathing difficulties such as:

  • Asbestosis
  • Asbestos-related lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Occupational/industrial asthma
  • Silicosis

Other common industrial illnesses include:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Dermatitis
  • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

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